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General Education

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With living costs as high as they are in this day and age, it is completely unreasonable to expect the average individual to squander already limited resources. Receiving a bachelor's degree today requires an assortment of classes that often are not directly related to one's career objectives. For some, they find this to be an enjoyable adventure, broadening their knowledge and learning about new aspects of life, but for others this is just burdensome. However it is looked upon, the college curriculum still requires a diverse selection of courses to develop well rounded, responsible individuals, but in turn creates added pressure upon students.

Is it the job of secondary education to start developing all inclusive students who have been familiarized with a broad range of subjects? Is it fair that some children are able to afford private education and expensive tutoring with a one on one basis? The government needs to step in on this matter because the children who are growing up now are going to be this countries future. The rich are always going to be well educated because they can afford it. There needs to be government programs that provide free tutoring and counseling for the underprivileged. But the way things are going this will never happen because education is almost always one of the first things to be cut.

One of the greatest sacrifices of college is the money required to attend. The Education Statistics Quarterly says:

One of the biggest concerns for many families is how they are going to pay their children's college expenses. In academic year 2002-03, the average total price for full-time undergraduates to attend 4-year institutions--including tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, and other education expenses, as estimated by the institutions--was more than $12,800 at public institutions and almost $28,000 at private institutions (College Board 2003a). Over the past decade, inflation-adjusted tuition prices at public and private 4-year colleges and universities jumped nearly 40 percent, while the median income of families with a head of household 45 to 54 years old (those families most likely to have traditional college-age children) rose only 8 percent (College Board 2003b). Such price increases have made it much more difficult for families from nearly all income levels to pay for college. Researchers have, for many years, wondered how low- and middle-income families manage to put together enough funds from financial aid and their own resources to pay for their children's postsecondary education.

Now if the average family income in the United States is $57,000, college is costing almost half of the annual income. For this reason college is a very serious matter and can not be taken lightly. When dealing with these figures some may not want to have to go through the miserable process of general education. For them maybe even a job school like Bryman College would suit them well, where they can learn the profession that they are going into. This would solve the money issue and also a lot of time that could never be gained back.

No matter what, general education is something that every college student faces. Some students view it as a laundry list that they have to get through, while others see it as an opportunity to explore new subjects. Either way it is viewed, it is still enforced and there is no way to bypass it. Is it really necessary for a focused biology student who is trying to get out of college in four years to take an art class? The point can be argued either way. No, it is not particularly necessary for that individual to take an art course. They will never need to discuss pointillism while they are with a patient, and the difference between abstract art and non-representational art means absolutely nothing to them. Or it can be argued that an art course is vital to this individual's higher education. Is not the purpose of college to produce well-rounded citizens? Isn't there something to be said for an individual who can look at a work of art in a museum for longer than five seconds and really appreciate the work the artist poured in to it? Or for the individual who find one's true interest, general education is more than worth the two years it takes to get through. So although the couple of years a college student spends in general education may seem useless, it is important to recognize the value of it. It helps individuals by showing them an array of possibilities that should be explored before one decides on his or hers life's

career. It also builds interesting people who are not just specialists, but who have a better understanding and appreciation for the world around them.

Even though, as explained previously, general education is valuable it does create stress for the student who is set on his/her major. For many students, especially those who go to state universities, the probability of graduating with a bachelor's degree in four years is highly unlikely. For those students who have to fight to get into the classes they need to graduate, general education is a villain. The victim of this system can't see the importance of taking a variety of courses. Zinsser recognizes this problem in his essay "College Pressures," which talks about the stresses that college students face. He quotes a dean of Yale University talking about his students: "They ought to take chances. Not taking chances will lead to a life of colorless mediocrity. They'll be comfortable. But something in the spirit will be missing." (452) Zinsser picks this quote because it describes a college student who is so focused on his/her goals or what or expectations of them, that the bigger picture is lost. For the narrow sighted college student venturing outside his/her past what is required in general education is not an option. Why you might ask? It is because courses required for majors are so jammed packed that once you get into the upper division courses, adding leisure classes may be stressful or may cause an individual to be in college an extra year. Zinsser looks down

upon this way of thinking and blames employers for this mindset students have. Zinsser says:

Long gone are the days of the 'gentleman's C,' when students journeyed through college

with a certain relaxation, sampling a wide variety of courses- music, art, philosophy, classics,

anthropology, poetry, religion- that would send them out as liberally educated man and women.

If I were an employer I would rather employ graduates who have this range and



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